Do people understand their home HIV test results? Risk literacy and information search

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



HIV testing is recommended for most adults regardless of risk. Unfortunately, the high sensitivity and specificity of home HIV tests may often be misinterpreted. Here, we assessed risk comprehension in a sample of young adults who received the manufacture's home HIV test brochure. Results indicated that most participants accurately answered some risk-relevant questions (e.g., what is the test sensitivity?). Individual differences in numeracy predicted more thorough review of relevant risk information and were associated with some superior inferences (i.e., estimating false negative rates). However, regardless of numeracy, participants tended to dramatically overestimate the probability that a positive test result was a true positive (i.e., the positive predictive value), showing marked overconfidence in their incorrect interpretations. Results highlight current strengths and limits of the standard informational brochure. Implications and opportunities for improving risk communication in Home HIV testing are briefly discussed.

Publication Title

Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society